The Association of Australian Convention Bureaux (AACB) expressed disappointment that the business events industry was not better represented in the Productivity Commission’s recent draft report, Barriers to Growth in Service Exports.
AACB Executive Director Andrew Hiebl said, “The recommendations put forward in this report fail to identify business events as a key mechanism that connects the Australian services sector to the World, let alone as an important export service in its own right.“
High yielding business events play an integral role in the visitor and service economies. Deloitte Access Economics reported that 1 in 5 dollars spent by international visitors in Australia is spent by an international visitor attending some form of business event, and that these delegates spend 77% more on a daily basis than leisure tourists.
In an Ernst & Young Report, The Value of Business Events to Australia, released by the Business Events Council of Australia earlier this year: 37 million people (international and domestic) attended more than 412,000 business events across Australia in 2013-14. These business events generated $28 billion in direct expenditure ($23.1 billion GDP) and 179,357 jobs.
The draft Productivity Commission report identified tourism exports as the top service sector accounting for $36 billion in 2013-14, with an average growth rate of 6% per year over the past decade.
However, Hiebl cautioned that, “A focus on overnight expenditure alone fails to recognise the broader importance of the visitor economy, such as breaking down cultural barriers. Further, international business events offer strategic tools and long-term benefits for attracting trade, investment and global talent to Australia.”
Within the past 12 months, the Australian Government has offered the business events industry clear opportunities to position itself as an economic driver through two Productivity Commission inquiries including:
- Services Exports
- Australia’s International Tourism Industry
Hiebl added, “While AACB responded to both of these inquiries, it is critical that all sectors of the business events industry take a more proactive role in opportunities that are handed to us. Making sure that the industry is better positioned within the Federal Government toolkit will have a lasting impact on the industry in Australia for years to come.”
AACB urges other leaders in the business events community representing industry to examine the Productivity Commission’s draft report, Barriers to Growth in Services, and make a written submission by the Friday, 18 September deadline. The final report will establish priorities for international negotiations and improving domestic policy settings.
More information can be found at http://www.pc.gov.au/inquiries/current/service-exports.